Do you ever feel like you’re reading (or writing) the same old thing over and over? Whether it’s a listicle, article or review, the net is in repeat mode.
For those churning out content regularly, it’s important to brainstorm ideas, know your audience and keep things current. By focusing on quality over quantity, you’ll write exciting pieces that make people want to stop scrolling and read.
Now, more than ever, it’s hard to make a case for original content. Most notably, the throwback trend is a popular way to create (or re-create) content. While originality is hard to come by these days, it’s all about adding your own twist. A fresh take will increase relevance and relatability.
First things first, when finally putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you have to choose an angle and follow through accordingly.
A word of advice: if you prefer or practice one particular writing style, crafting a new angle will strengthen your writing skills, achieve long-term interest and expand your reach.
More often than not, switching things up is a positive. There are two main types of angles: informational and personal opinion.
Transitioning between the two is a good way to create a wide range of quality work. Whether developing and/or maintaining a fluid or systematic transition, offering a solid mix of approaches will provide different perspectives and separate takeaways.
Rooted in fact, informational content imparts knowledge. Think tips, tutorials, and lessons. More light and loose, pieces based on personal opinion express thoughts and feelings. Think social commentary.
Within each category is a list of ways to approach the angle. Along with changing the type of angle, explore a number of different approaches, formats, and tones. Before choosing a direction, check that it aligns with your brand or blog (and its message).
Picking up a tip or learning a lesson can come in many forms. For a breakdown of the informational angle and all the ways you can point out the facts, read on.
Make a List
More than articles, listicles are still very popular. Short and simple, they’re easy to read and get right to the point. Noted as subtitles (please see above), finding basic takeaways involves more skimming and less searching. When it comes to marketing, the most common listicles include making checklists and introducing overall marketing goals and strategies.
With takes and tools constantly evolving in the digital world, staying on top of tech is number one. Based on priority, keeping track of things-to-do will improve organizational skills and ensure the meeting of all deadlines. As two top requirements for building a successful career, your boss will thank you.
Teach a Lesson
Expanding on listicles, staying on top of tech involves constant learning. As a go-to source for tips and tutoring, communication is key. Whether a small business owner or a member of an agency-based marketing team, those in the industry want to make the most of their time.
Focusing on a teachable moment, this type of angle provides beginner tips, a how-to guide or an in-depth look. In many cases, solving a problem promotes repeat readers. To keep your audience, take the time to make a video tutorial. Featuring a face for the facts and offering a visual experience will build a stronger connection and target different styles of learning.
In the News
Create content to inform readers. From the latest launches to evolving trends and social influencers, pull together need-to-know news in one hot spot. Look to strike a balance between a casual and conversational tone for on-the-go learning and a more formal tone for sit-down analysis.
With a 24-hour news cycle and a connected public, individuals are inundated with headlines and subtitles. A steady flow of notifications and threads via social media offers users access to countless news sources every day. Stand out and stay current to make a strong delivery.
Profile or Panel
Talk to the experts. Whether writing a profile or putting together a panel, keep in mind two things: your message and your audience. It’s important that the person (or panel) selected represents your brand or blog and connects with your readers. Share an insider look at the work and life experience of the industry and/or community leaders.
Start by selecting to either write a profile or put together a panel. Next, create a list of questions and set up an interview or bring together a diverse group of people to participate in an interesting discussion. Maybe an advice column or a Q&A series, the latter approach has the potential to take on an interactive format.
Share the Spotlight
Beyond sharing their story in your own words, invite an expert to write a guest post. While giving up control can be difficult, exploring this approach (even for a moment) offers a fresh voice and a new way of thinking. Not a fan of sharing? Collaborate with a like-minded individual on a post. Team up to lead a seminar or spread the word.
Similar to taking baby steps in terms of sharing the same page, before switching from your favorite type of angle shake things up by changing your approach. The step-by-step process will foster routine change.
With no research required, an average social media post is the perfect example of creating content based on personal opinion. The main difference: posts are limited to a certain number of characters. Check out the following ways to share what’s on your mind.
Write a Review
We all want to know what works and what doesn’t – sometimes without spending the time to find out for ourselves. While writing a review is heavily subjective, it’s a popular method for decision-making.
Elaborate on a personal experience or explain reasons to make a purchase, try a strategy or build a partnership. Don’t be afraid to be honest or break down the good, the bad and the ugly. By doing so, you’ll earn the trust of your readers. In addition to writing a review, make recommendations for both the personal and professional space.
Offer Your Opinion
At the heart of every good debate or discussion is a difference of opinion. Whether or not we share the same perspective, personal experience opens up the conversation to all of us.
Bring attention to an area of interest by providing social commentary and supporting your point of view. Depending on status and social following, the opinion of some is more respected than others. To establish credibility, cover worthy topics and create compelling content. To attract readers beyond the first few sentences, keep in mind the difference between a personal opinion and what is considered to be the popular opinion.
Don’t feel pressure to blend the two. Those looking to broaden their scope don’t want to read a summary of their own point of view.
Get Your Rant On
A little controversy never hurt anybody. As a matter of fact, we thrive on it. Offer your opinion and then some. Just remember, to be respected, stay respectful.
Stick to the point – because there better be a point – and address the topic in a smart and clever way. Follow the rules of ranting: press pause on posting, no personal attacks and don’t rant just to rant. Trade the practice of free speech for the art of writing.
Personal essays are persuasive and connective. While you might think that personal essays belong solely to lifestyle publications or adventure mags, adding a first-person perspective to your content will help you to humanize your brand while engaging your readers on a more meaningful level.
Focus on the narrative first and foremost, using your first-person beginning, middle, and end to utilize a combination of the above three approaches to drive engagement.
Share the Spotlight (Part II)
Similar to collaborating on a post, find a partner to present two sides of an argument or contrasting reviews.
Generally, people are more likely to publicize their comments if their position is represented among the original content. By combining multiple approaches, you’ll establish a diverse following and open communication.
There’s no use in creating content if no one is reading it. In addition to exploring types of angles and approaches, communicate with your readers in new ways to expand reach, and never be afraid to use the content you have in many different formats.
When it comes to content, think beyond the page and outside of the box. With phones at our fingertips, apps, social media channels, and community-based online boards serve as the best way to connect with your audience and increase views. A quick list of other options: start a podcast, live stream via Facebook or LinkedIn, explore Instagram stories, create a Pinterest board, start a conversation on Twitter, play with TikTok, listen in on Clubhouse, or just launch a hashtag into the world!
Whatever the length, a few words, paragraph or pages, the concept of content has changed over the last decade. It’s crossed lines of communication and established non-traditional formats. Whether reaching out to readers and/or viewers to teach them how to build a marketing strategy, answer a question or share an opinion, explore all of the ways to craft an angle and channels for communication.
Learn the tools and technologies needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow with a Content Marketing Course. Download a brochure today!
(First published August 2018, updated August 2021)